Tony Slinger

"I started working in a shoe factory at the age of fourteen on a Saturday morning…"

Tony Slinger

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Mr. Slinger you are a rara avis in the shoes world. Nowadays there are not many Gentlemen who can male shoes only with their hands. How did this passion for shoes grew?

I started working in a shoe factory at the age of 14 on a Saturday morning. My job was to make threads for the Shoemakers.

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Bespoke shoes means Bespoke knowledge. How many years of learning are necessary for a person to be able to complete a decent shoe?

I did a 5 year apprenticeship then you are put on the bench next to a guy that would guide you as he would of had at least 25 years experience.

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Why choosing bespoke and not RTW? What are the “effects” of a bespoke on your foot health?

Choosing Bespoke is best for your feet as they would fit your foot properly and the materials from the mid sole to the heel and toe stiffeners would all be leather so letting your feet breathe properly.

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You say on your site “We offer a free consultation which can, in orthopedic cases, quite seriously change your life”.
I had a customer recently that had a ulcer on the bottom of her foot which was stopping her from walking. After making an orthodontic shoe for her  the ulcer healed and now she walks pain free this is a great feeling.

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What are the particularities of Orthopedic shoemaking? What do you need to know more than a regular shoemaker?

Orthopedic Shoemaking is far more complex and takes years to learn you see foot problems that a standard Shoemaker would not see.

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What is your favorite Slinger pair of shoes until now?

My favorite Slinger Shoe at the moment is the Burnish and Blue suede Golf shoe that made recently as it is so different as a Golf shoe plus I play Golf myself.

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In 1987 you volunteered to hand make some guardsman boot samples following the original Napoleonic blueprint. Please tell me more about this experience.

The making of the Household Cavalry Boots was an honor  To make the Leather is so heavy that once you have sewn the Boot upper up and then lasted you hab blisters before you even started Welting these Boots are rock solid.

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What are the differences between the methods and materials use then and now? What innovation brought 20 century in terms of bespoke shoemaking?

Methods in hand sewn Shoemaking have not changed over the years. Tradition is very important and these methods work regarding the fact that the Orthopedic methods have changed due to new materials that help problem feet.

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Where do you get your leathers from? 

I buy my Leather from Northampton either A A Crack or Euro Leathers. They are great suppliers!

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What future plans do you have?

My future plans would be to launch my own manufactured shoe range in Northampton and keep shoemaking on the map.

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